The Invisible Workload of Open Research

Author : Thomas J. Hostler

It is acknowledged that conducting open research requires additional time and effort compared to conducting ‘closed’ research. However, this additional work is often discussed only in abstract terms, a discourse which ignores the practicalities of how researchers are expected to find the time to engage with these practices in the context of their broader role as multifaceted academics.

In the context of a sector that is blighted by stress, burnout, untenable workloads, and hyper-competitive pressures to produce, there is a clear danger that additional expectations to engage in open practices add to the workload burden and increase pressure on academics even further. In this article, the theories of academic capitalism and workload creep are used to explore how workload models currently exploit researchers by mismeasuring academic labour.

The specific increase in workload resulting from open practices and associated administration is then outlined, including via the cumulative effects of administrative burden.

It is argued that there is a high chance that without intervention, increased expectations to engage in open research practices may lead to unacceptable increases in demands on academics. Finally, the individual and systematic responsibilities to mitigate this are discussed.

URL : The Invisible Workload of Open Research